As of 21 February 2015, Canadian employers must pay a CAD 230 “Employer Compliance Fee” to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) online each time an employer-specific work permit application is submitted on behalf of a foreign worker in circumstances that do not require a Labor Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”) (i.e. is “LMIA-exempt”).  The new fee will be used to put in place an employer inspection and compliance regime. Once the regime is in place, employers could face an administrative monetary penalty, a ban from hiring foreign workers, and/or a criminal investigation and prosecution if an inspector uncovers non-compliance.

If an individual is already exempt from paying the regular CAD 155 work permit fee, employers will not be required to pay the new Employer Compliance Fee with respect to that worker, unless the individual participates in the International Experience Canada program.  Employers who hire individuals with open work permits are also not required to pay a fee directly to CIC.

In addition to paying the Employer Compliance Fee, employers will be required to submit an Offer of Employment form (IMM 5802) by email to CIC.  Both the form and the fee must be submitted by the employer before the foreign worker makes his or her work permit or renewal application.  If the employer fails to meet these requirements, immigration officers will refuse the work permit application.  By signing the Offer of Employment form, the employer commits to providing substantially the same salary and working conditions to the foreign working for the duration of the assignment and must ensure the foreign worker occupies the same position for the authorized period of employment.

If the work permit application is subsequently refused or the employer withdraws the offer of employment before a work permit is issued, CIC will reimburse the CAD 230 fee.  In order to withdraw an offer, the employer must notify CIC by email, and the email must follow specific requirements in order to qualify for a reimbursement.